News

Will Thomas

New Mexico’s largest utility company promised to have a completed coal-supply agreement for their power plant in place by last Friday but PNM missed its own deadline.

The coal-supply agreement for the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico is one of the linchpins for the plant’s future energy production. The utility wants to shut down two units there and replace that power with nuclear, natural gas, some solar and more coal.

Mark Bray via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The sound of city garbage trucks cruising the streets is familiar to most of us. But it’s a sound many people in Albuquerque’s North Valley are worried they’ll be hearing too much of, if the city’s proposal to build a trash center here goes through. Neighbors like Peggy Norton say the plan is a threat to the surrounding area.

VIDEO: Drilling Deep Series On NMPBS

May 4, 2015

Laura Paskus is reporting our Drilling Deep series on oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico.

She's looking at issues surrounding flaring, the cultural implications of the oil and gas development and environmental impacts, to name a few. Recently, NMPBS' Sarah Gustavus spoke with Laura about the series on a segment of New Mexico in Focus. Check it out!

BCSO

Man Dies After Being Shot By Bernalillo County DeputyThe Associated Press

A Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputy is on paid administrative leave following a south valley shooting that left one man dead.

The Albuquerque Journal reports deputies responded to a neighbor's call that an argument was taking place in a parked car. Deputies talked to the woman and tried to talk to the man, who then produced a weapon.

Environmental Protection Agency

US To Pay $13.2M For Navajo Nation Uranium Mine Evaluation The Associated Press

Navajo Nation officials say the U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to provide $13.2 million for a cleanup evaluation of 16 abandoned uranium mines across the vast reservation.

Tribal officials say the investigation of the sites is a necessary step before final cleanup decisions can be made.

The Navajo Nation encompasses more than 27,000 square miles within Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Arianna Sena

A University of New Mexico professor used her acceptance speech for a prestigious award Wednesday to call on UNM to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry.

Associate Professor Tema Milstein was chosen as UNM's Presidential Teaching Fellow for 2015-17. She took the opportunity during her acceptance speech to urge the university to stop using higher education money to fund fossil fuel production.

MoDOT Photos via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Review: No-Bid Deal For Police Body Cameras Was 'Greased' - The Associated Press

A New Mexico review has found that Albuquerque's former police chief potentially violated ethics rules by influencing a $1.95 million contract to purchase body cameras and then going to work as a consultant for the supplier.

State Auditor Timothy Keller released a report Thursday that says former Chief Ray Schultz and his subordinates gave Taser International an unfair advantage for the 2013 contact.

Skarz via Wikimedia Commons

Shake-Up Hits Albuquerque Police Records DepartmentThe Associated Press

An internal investigation has prompted a shake-up within the public records unit of the embattled Albuquerque Police Department.

Three employees have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Department spokeswoman Celina Espinoza says investigators are looking at allegations of unprofessional conduct, workplace safety and inadequate supervision.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

On a huge stretch of mesa to the Southwest of Albuquerque, people have built dwellings. These homesteaders on Pajarito Mesa say when they call for emergency services, help isn’t always on its way.   

There are questions about the legality of land-ownership or even whether people should be living in this part of Bernalillo County. Some county officials say they don’t want to encourage anyone to move there by providing services.   

Senate Democrats via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Jon Jones Stripped Of UFC Title, SuspendedThe Associated Press

Jon Jones has been stripped of his UFC light heavyweight title and suspended indefinitely following his arrest in New Mexico on a hit-and-run that police say left a pregnant woman with a broken arm.

The UFC announced the penalties Tuesday night for violations of its athlete code of conduct policy.

Jones was scheduled to face No. 1 contender Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 in Las Vegas on May 23. Instead, No. 3 contender Daniel Cormier will face Johnson for the title.

New Mexico In Depth

NM Senator Wants Answers From Mental Health Care Officials - The Associated Press

A key Democratic state senator is asking Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration for answers as a mental health provider prepares to pull out of southern New Mexico.

Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen says she's concerned about the thousands of people who currently receive care from Arizona-based La Frontera. The provider is set to stop services June 1.

Bruce Wetherbee

How clean was the hospital when you were there? How well did nurses and doctors explain things to you? When answering these questions, people in New Mexico ranked state facilities poorly, according to federal survey data that was just released. Local union members say that’s because hospitals like the one in Santa Fe run on staffs that are too small in order to pinch pennies.

Argonne National Laboratory via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Governor Susana Martinez is throwing her weight behind the idea of increasing nuclear waste storage in southeastern New Mexico and anti-nuclear activists fear the consequences.

Nimfolb via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 4/30 8a: 

Several VA healthcare facilities in New Mexico are some of the worst in the nation when it comes to wait times for appointments and case backlogs. We'll find out what veterans are experiencing when they try to get medical care, in VA facilities and elsewhere.

We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online or call in live during the show. 

Guests:

National Nuclear Security Administration / Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico Lobbying To Be Storage Site For Nuclear Waste - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

A rural area of southeastern New Mexico is being touted as an interim storage site for the country's high-level nuclear waste.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Gov. Susana Martinez reached out to the Obama administration earlier this month to consider the 1,000-acre parcel as a place for storing spent radioactive fuel rods from power plants.

Smithsonian Institution via flickr.com

New Mexico Democrats Choose Haaland As New Party Chair - The Associated Press 

A Democratic activist and tribal administrator from Albuquerque is the new leader of New Mexico's Democratic Party.

Debra Haaland became the first Native American to lead a state party in New Mexico on Saturday following a Democratic State Central Committee meeting at a high school gym in Albuquerque.

The 54-year-old, who ran for lieutenant governor last year, beat Santa Fe County party chairman Richard Ellenberg by a vote of 214 to 168.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The health care employees union used a Santa Fe hospital’s low patient rating as grounds to call for help from city officials on Friday morning. 

Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center did worse than most hospitals in the state in recent patient surveys, scoring only two of five stars.

Killbox

The Albuquerque Board of Education signed off on hiring the district’s next superintendent. The local teachers union approves the board’s choice.

By mid-summer Luis Valentino will be at the helm of the Albuquerque Public School District. 

NASA

Scientists published a paper on methane levels across the globe last year—and their satellite images show the largest methane anomaly in the United States hovers over northwestern New Mexico. Now, some of the nation’s top scientists have come here to figure out where all that methane’s coming from.  

Mercy for Animals

The world's largest mozzarella cheese producer has updated their animal welfare policy. This week's announcement comes in the wake of a hidden video investigation of animal abuse at a dairy farm in southern New Mexico last year. 

The secretly-taped video revealed that workers at Winchester Dairy near Dexter, New Mexico, used prods on cows' genitals and tractors to move sick animals.

Meredith Nierman / WGBH News

Boston Marathon Winner Rotich To Get Santa Fe Parade - The Associated Press

The city of Santa Fe is holding a parade for a Santa Fe resident who won the Boston Marathon.

Officials announced this week the city and other groups will sponsor a parade on Monday in honor of Caroline Rotich.

Rotich, who has lived and trained in Santa Fe for about five years, used a late kick to bust through the tape first among the women runners in the 119th running of the prestigious event.

Don't Slip On The Peel

Apr 23, 2015
Black Glenn via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Many people in the U.S. proclaimed the election of President Barack Obama proof that our nation had become a post-racial society.

But commentator Andrea Mays says Trayvon Martin’s murder, the choke-hold death of Eric Garner, the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and most recently, the killing of Eric Harris in Oklahoma by a white volunteer police officer shows we aren’t there, yet.

Moon Man Mike via Flickr

New Mexico’s craft beer and winemakers will be able to sell their products in more places come July 1st, 2015.

So this summer when you stop by a brewery you may be able to order a glass of local wine. And if you're visiting a tasting room at a winery, you might be able to order a pint produced at a local brewery.

That’s because New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed a few bills expanding markets for breweries and wineries around the state.

Nico Ortiz of Turtle Mountain Brewing Company is excited to sell his beer outside of his taproom.

Samantha Celera via CC

The state's Veterans Affairs Health Care System set up a hotline to help people speed up appointments. It was going to expire Thursday but has been extended for another two weeks.

The hotline was established earlier this month after news broke that four VA medical facilities in New Mexico had some of the longest waits for health care in the country.

Veterans with appointments scheduled out 30 days or more can call 505-222-3351 to find alternatives. The hotline will be live through Thursday, May 7. Find out more at publichealthnm.org.

Garrett Heath of SA Flavor via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Regulators Adopt New Rules For Lyft, Uber - The Associated Press

State regulators have approved new rules to allow ride-booking services Lyft and Uber to operate in New Mexico.

The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 Wednesday on new regulations that clear the way for the companies to operate under guidelines separate from those that govern traditional taxi services.

Commissioners were divided on drug testing requirements for ride-booking drivers and voted 3-2 to require testing only after accidents.

fws.gov

  

Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department is going to hold hearings on a proposal to build an around-the-clock hot-mix asphalt plant less than half a mile from the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in the South Valley. The department received 156 public comments on the plan. 

Ed Williams-KUNM

About one hundred people showed up to a City of Albuquerque public meeting Tuesday on a proposal to build a trash transfer center in the North Valley.

Under the proposal garbage trucks would drop the city’s trash at a 75,000 square foot waste transfer station at the corner of Edith and Griegos - then larger trucks would haul the trash off to the dump.

Jane Foster lives in the neighborhood and, like many who attended, says she worries the plan will harm people living nearby.

Russell Begaye on YouTube

Tribal Businessman Upsets Former Navajo President In Race - Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press

Russell Begaye easily beat a former Navajo Nation president Tuesday for the top post on the country's largest American Indian reservation.

Begaye led Joe Shirley Jr. by about 10,000 votes, according to unofficial results.

Begaye's victory came nearly five months after the original election was scuttled amid court battles sparked by a candidate's ability to speak fluent Navajo.

Kirtland AFB Bulk Fuels Facility Spill Project

Kirkland Fuel Spill Plume Seems To Bypass Albuquerque Wells - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A fuel spill that officials worried might pollute Albuquerque drinking water seems to be bypassing the city's wells.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that leaders of the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill cleanup team say the plume appears to be headed north rather than northeast.

The direction means the fuel will likely bypass two of three nearby wells. It is unclear whether it will pollute the third.

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